A 36-year Swedish woman is the first to give birth with a transplanted uterus, revealed the British medical journal “The Lancet,” on Saturday.
This is making important progress in the fight against the infertility of women, specifically those born without a uterus. The Lancet highlights that this marks the birth to a healthy baby boy in September, after 31 weeks of gestation. The baby was born weighing 1.775 kg.
The woman highlighted in the article was born without a uterus due to a genetic disease. The father’s identity was not revealed. The mother later left the hospital three days after the birth, however, the child was discharged from the neonatal unit one week later, and both are doing well.
The uterus transplant donor was from a woman of 61, who had entered menopause seven years ago, after an operation for another condition. “This success is based on more than ten years of intensive research in guinea pigs and surgical training of our staff and creates the possibility of treating a large number of young women in the world who suffer from uterine infertility,” said Professor Mats Brännström, specialist in Obstetrics, University of Gothenburg, who led the research during an interview for the magazine. “Furthermore, we demonstrate the feasibility of the uterus of a living donor, even when the latter is in menopause transplant.”
According to experts, “A lack of a uterus was the only type of female infertility considered too far out of therapeutic reach.” Though through research and time, this issue has seemed to be resolved; another piece of the puzzle found.
In Paris, Professor René Frydman, the scientific father of the first French test tube baby, “enthusiastically” received the “final step,” which he considered comparable to the “heart transplant for heart disease.”
The treated women had intact ovaries, and therefore were able to produce the eggs that were fertilized by the techniques of in vitro fertilization (IVF) before transplantation. Thus, it was possible to have up to 11 frozen embryos.
One year after the uterus transplant, doctors transferred a single embryo to the uterus transplant, which led to the successful pregnancy.
“We saw a single episode of a slight rejection during pregnancy, treated with corticosteroids, and the woman worked full-time until the day before birth,” Brännström commented.
The growth of the fetus and blood flow in the uterine arteries and the umbilical cord were normal until the 31 week mark. At that moment, she had to be hospitalized due to eclampsia, and underwent a cesarean. Eclampsia is a condition characterized mainly by hypertension and is a risk to the fetus.
The new mother is one of the nine who have accepted a Swedish utero transplant from a living donor in 2013 in the same manner as seven of the others had MRKH syndrome, which leads to lack, either partial or total, of the vagina and uterus. This condition affects one in five thousand women congenitally.
In the UK, it is estimated that over 12,000 women of reproductive age have an infertility of uterine origin, says “The Lancet.”
Before this feat, other attempts to transplant wombs from donors, living or not, had already been made, but failed.
The first time was in Saudi Arabia in 2000. After three months, the uterus of the patient sloughed. Another attempt was in Turkey in 2011, when it resorted to the womb of a deceased donor. The pregnancy began, but ended in a miscarriage. The progress a decade makes shines a bright light for more uterine transplants in the future.